Rick Wakeman's Caped Crusades: And The Winner Is...

“Will the winner of the ‘I Have Learned My Third Chord’ Award please come to the stage to collect his ‘Bert Weedon Play In A Day’ Award?”

The Prog Awards are undoubtedly a breath of fresh air alongside the numerous sewerage awards for people who can’t play, can’t sing and can’t believe their luck.

I felt so proud at last year’s awards, not just because I was a recipient, and a very proud one at that, but because everywhere I looked there were great musicians, great contributors to music and a wonderful clutch of new bands and musos.

I watched the Brit Awards on the television (first two letters need changing), and found it embarrassing. The odd ‘oldie’ who is invited to collect the now infamous Lifetime Achievement Award always looks totally embarrassed. That’s because they know, as indeed I do too, that the panel that choose the recipient start their deliberations by making a list of who is old, likely to die soon, who people have not forgotten just yet, and can still walk to the stage.

How do I know this? Sadly, in three different countries I have received such an award, and upon arriving at the venue have been asked a combination of the following questions:

“Are you able to walk from your table to the stage and manage the steps?”

“Would you like someone to help you?”

“Would you like your food cut up for you or puréed?”

“How are you with soup? Would you like a bib?”

“Will you need to have a lie down in the afternoon?”

“Did you ever meet Jimi Hendrix?”

Then of course they tell you where the nearest toilets are, as they presume you will need at least one trip there between courses (actually, that’s the only one I ever take notice of).

The Prog Awards have brought the focus back to where it should be: music, musicians and all those who care and love about the musical heritage that will be left long after we’re pushing up daisies, or sitting in an urn somewhere in one of our children’s potting sheds.

Thank you, Prog Awards, for caring about what us musos try to do, for encouraging the new breed of proper musician and for always pointing out where the toilets are.